Page:Our Common Land (and other short essays).djvu/104

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love as that which lighted and intensified the lives of heroes and of missionaries, and struggle to see what scope there is for acts which shall embody that love.

The mistake the old-fashioned donors make is not in their benevolence—that cannot be too strong—but they forget to watch whether the influence of their deeds is beneficent. I should not at all wonder if even thirty years ago doles were more beneficent than now. If the poor had at that time not learned to trust to them, if they came straight from the loving hands of those who cared to step aside from beaten tracks to know and serve the poor they must have had very different results from any they have now, when people have learned to depend on them, when they are almost the fashion, and often the relief for the consciences of those who don’t feel quite easy, if they give no time, no heart, no trouble, nor any money to the poor. I have no manner of doubt, that just now gifts of necessaries are injurious.